Flood-affected residents from Hay River and the Kátł’odeeche First Nation have received an outpouring of support from across the country amounting to more than $400,000 through United Way NWT.
Most of the funds have already been distributed to organizations providing flood relief, said Ben Linaker, vice-chair of United Way NWT.
“All told, we’ve got just under $300,000 of the $420,000 raised out the door or in the process of going out the door,” he said.
In the next few days, more than $100,000 will be supplied to the Kátł’odeeche First Nation, the Hay River Committee for Persons with Disabilities and the Hay River Soup Kitchen, “which has been doing phenomenal work,” said Linaker. “Such a grassroots charity in Hay River. They have a shoestring budget and just do great work.”
On May 11, with ice and floodwaters threatening the community, the GNWT turned to the United Way to coordinate a fundraising campaign. The territorial government promised to match donations up to a total of $150,000, to support those impacted.
“Our relationship with the Government of the Northwest Territories has been really fruitful – matching the dollars, getting the word out and supporting us in other ways,” said Linaker.
He noted that the vast majority of donors have been from the Northwest Territories, with large sums pledged by Air Tindi, Aurora Ford and other organizations.
“We have a pretty strong board that has relationships with businesses and so we called on some of those organizations and asked if they were interested in donating,” he said.
In the aftermath of the disaster, the United Way was directing funds to groups focused on supplying immediate care to flood-affected evacuees such as food, clothing and other essentials.
Now, with floodwaters receded, Linaker said the United Way will be working alongside Hay River residents for the long term.
“We’ll keep discussions going with our partners at the Town of Hay River, the Kátł’odeeche First Nation and the charities throughout Hay River that are doing programming to support people,” he said. “We’ve shifted our focus from the immediate needs to medium-term and long-term needs. And we will continue to roll out the money that has been fundraised to fill gaps that exist in the flood response.”
Those who want to help in some way can still support the flood response. Donations can be made through the link to the United Way fundraiser at canadahelps.org.
“Every dollar that you give the United Way is going to end up in the community of Hay River supporting the needs that they have,” said Linaker. “We’re fully committed to making sure that the community receives the support that it needs.”